Waiting for The Leopard
I am waiting to see a Leopard. They are definitely here, in numbers, but I am yet to see one. They are elusive, but they do come to the waterhole. Its just a waiting game. They don't drink every day. It depends how much fresh blood they have been drinking.
Last night I was again the last one watching. Again I happily fell asleep just sitting and staring at the floodlit dark pool. It's kind of relaxing as I mentioned earlier. Something about the expectation of some drama waiting to unfold is compelling. Even though nothing can happen. It's peaceful.
I awoke to see two new Rhino come into view. A mother and young calf. I was treated to the baby suckling right in front of me. They are like dinosaurs , the rhino. It is a view back into a prehistoric past. All the posturing. Always face forward with your horns at the ready. Face everything. I was thinking its kind of like that in Africa. It is important to always be facing what is coming at you. A protective readieness. Zen in the art of anticipated readiness.
I waited for the Leopard. Come on we have a date!! I'm here now! A half bottle of Namaqua Red. But actually there was just nothing , not even a hyena last night.
So I headed for bed around midnight. It's the thing when you are waiting for the Leopard, when I walk back down the path to the camp I sort of feel like I am being watched. Maybe the Leopard is waiting for me?
I really need some horns to face forward with.
I just finished reading ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. It is one of the classics of African literature. The short novel tells of African Village lives and beliefs prior to the arrival of the Albino white man with his ‘iron horse’. The ability of the writer to get inside the African mind through the story and then tell of the crash of African society as colonialism takes hold, is powerfull, sadly disturbing and way too familiar. The devastating mix of religion and governance devouring traditional cultures. It sadly continues in the name of modern progress.
Today, my fifth in Etosha, has me taking up residency at a different waterhole. It's a wide open expansive area with a threesixty view of wildlife. I am close to the water and so as I write I have an endless procession of zebra, and wilderbeast taking turns to come in and drink. There is little urgency, everything just take its time. The occasional small whirlwind of dust races through out of the stillness. I think it gets whipped up on the salt pan, these small wind vortexes, and then they rip along the ground and engulf you in an intense cloud of sand for a minute.
Although all seems quiet and peaceful, almost idyllic, the slightest unpredicted movement, like a bird flying over casting a shadow, sets the animals off in a scramble. So the life flight awareness is constant. The lions and other cats will be here. I was told there was a Lion here with a fresh kill last night ,and a cheetah on the road. But no sign … So far. Maybe the areas in this landscape where I can see no animals is where the lions are chilling out. Somehow the animals just adjust to these life threatening possibilities. But you can't tell from afar. It's idyllic restfullness.
No one here is waiting for The Leopard.